Middle South

May, 2003
Regional Report

Scrub Pots

Before you plant any container that's been used before, scrub it well to remove salt deposits and fungi. I fill a wheelbarrow with warm, soapy water, let dirty pots soak, and then use a plastic scrub brush to make quick work of this task.

Plant Tomatoes and Peppers

The time is right to fill well-prepared beds, rows or pots with your favorite tomatoes and peppers. If you buy seedlings, choose young specimens that have not yet begun to bloom. Also check the roots to make sure the plants' feet aren't terribly pinched.

Fertilize Azaleas

As the last flowers fade, feed your azaleas with a fertilizer intended for use on plants that prefer acidic soil conditions. The best way to feed azaleas is to give them a half ration of fertilizer now. Give them the other half in July, just before a good rain is expected.

Plan Summer Flowerbeds

Your pansies may be blooming like gangbusters now, but in a few weeks they will go into heat-induced meltdown. Plan your replacement strategy, and go ahead and buy plants while the selection is good. Impatiens are hard to beat in shade, while pentas are great choices for sunnier sites.

Harvest Salad Greens

Lettuce, spinach, and other spring greens are at their best in the morning. Besides tasting better, they are usually crispier early in the day, too. Water salad greens often to help them grow quickly, because hot weather will soon spell the end of spring salad season.

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